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Hinging Preparation
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To begin, you will need the following:

  1. 5 minute epoxy. (Everyone asks about other glues. CA, guerilla glue, slow epoxy, Elmer’s…you name it. The answer is always, “Yes”, you can use any of them, and they work just fine, but you will slow your installation time with no added benefits. And that’s what we’re all about…build the fastest quality product you can.)
  2. Isopropyl alcohol or lacquer thinner and ample paper towels.
  3. Exacto knife, or other sharp instrument.
  4. Dremel tool with a cut-off disc. Any hinge slot cutter will work, but the Dremel does the fastest job possible, with some other advantages we’ll talk about in a minute.
  5. Pen/pencil and ruler.
  6. .047” piano wire to be used as a hinge pin.

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Use the ruler and straight edge to mark a line precisely down the hinge centerlines of both the control surface and the airframe surface. These lines must be right on center. Sometimes the control will have a very slight bend due to warpage. That is not a problem, just be sure the line is on the center (i.e. follows the bow). Once the control is installed the control bow will be pulled straight by the hinges, assuming it is not severe. If the airframe has a very noticeable bow along the hinge line, then ditch the plane or retire it to sport flying. It is not repairable and the plane will never fly straight in competition.

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Now bevel the control surfaces, if that has not been done already. We normally choose to bevel the control surface only, up to 45 degrees of throw. If you are going for 60 degrees of control throw, the remaining 15 degree bevel comes out of the airframe side. The lines you drew insure you get the bevel straight.

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The hinges are about “ wide. Mark your hinge locations by placing good size tick marks where the edge of each hinge will go (two ticks per hinge). For large surfaces, like a rudder, put a hinge about every inch and a half. For ailerons, about every 4” to 6” is plenty. Be sure to allow room for the servo mounts! Once you have marked the hinge location on the airframe, then hold the surface in position and mark the corresponding location on the control surface.

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Now pull out your Dremel tool and mount a fresh cutoff disc. Be sure to use clean safety goggles and work in a well ventilated shop, as this step gets dirty. Carefully cut each hinge slot using the Dremel. Cut right on the centerlines you marked, and move the disc between the two ticks you made for each hinge. Keep the disc as perpendicular as possible.

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The hinge halves have two rows of holes cut by the factory. Using scissors or a knife, cut the halves through the row of holes farthest from the hinge pin. This shortens the hinges to just the right length, and one row of holes is all that is needed to bond the hinge.

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You will work on the control surface first. Thread the number of hinge halves you will need onto the proper length of .047” wire. Only thread half of each hinge, not both halves. If this is a long control with more than 6 hinges, it is best to only work on 6 at a time. You can then come back and install the remaining hinges once the first 6 have cured. An alternative is to use 15 minute epoxy to install more than 6 hinges at once.

 

 

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